So today on my memories feed, a response to the 2009 movie, “John Carter of Mars“:

“Very enjoyable movie. Lots of that classic fanboy appeal. The Tharks were pretty much as they appeared in my mind’s eye tough it has been many a year since reading any of the series. The mars hound steals many scenes. Strong enough female lead. Little bits of comedy (the ‘hostage scene’ for one). More on it later. Let’s just say it was well suited to a big screen show.”

Over a decade later, I remain disappointed that that there was no follow up movie to this. It had an opportunity to be a new trilogy like The Mummy (Fraser / Weisz version) with high fantastical action and tongue in cheek comedy.

One of it’s major failings had to be the promotional campaign. If I wasn’t already a fan of book the ads offered nothing exceptional and in fact had far too much in common with the Superman ads at the time (not the best of Superman movies, but not the worst either). Even if it had put the words “From the creator of Tarzan Lord of the Apes” had been slapped on it, I’m sure more people would have checked it out. “From the book that inspired Star Wars” might have been a stretch to promote it but the raw impact that those thrilling tales of Barsoom had on the SF to follow is undeniable. Even including the defining preposition “of Mars” would have been engaged a wider audience just reading the titles.

Then consider the movie poster for a movie back by the power and money of the House of Mouse and compare it to book covers and the Asylum knock off movie released direct to video.

Of the four random images googled on the internet, the Disney poster is easily the least exciting.

That being said, I will admit, some chunks of Gods of Mars would have done better as inspiration than to follow scene by scene. There is also the delicate question of how the ‘races’ of mars would be portrayed. In the book, the races are more akin to species (the Red Martians as bipedal humans compared to the four armed Green Martians) but one has to wonder how they would portray the Black Martians and the White Martians. Would it be a make up job or maybe a CGI treatment that would make them distinctly non-humans?

Distinctly White, Humanoid, and Different …
(source – I Am Legend (2007))

There were lots of plans offered up, and pretty much every one was for a trilogy (trilogies were what all the cool kids were doing) and in this case, I’d say it was a fumble at the starting blocks that robbed us of further sword and sand action on Barsoon and potentially a ride at Disney World. We could have had a had a very different movie and presentation and a very different movie universe. I discovered while fact checking revealed that names like Robert Rodriguez and Jon Favreau were at one time attached to the project (and consider what we got with ‘The Mandolorian‘). When the studio (Paramount) decided not to follow through with John Carter of Mars, Favereau went on to work on ‘Iron Man‘ and created the first piece of the MCU. After the failure of ‘John Carter’ as a science fiction franchise, Disney moved on to pick up a little property called ‘Star Wars’ and we all have seen what happened with that.

So, what’s a movie that you eagerly are still waiting for a sequel to or always wanted to happen?